iBio looks to exit CDMO business, cut staffing levels by 60%

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Gwengoat
© GettyImages/Gwengoat

Related tags: Artificial intelligence, iBio, Immuno-oncology

Texas based, iBio, is divesting its CDMO business and cGMP biologics manufacturing facility. It is also set to reduce its workforce by 60%.

The move, it said, will allow it to focus on its immuno-oncology assets; the US player expects the restructuring measures to result in around 50% annualized cost savings.

Offloading its contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) assets will enable it to fully “transform into an antibody discovery and development” ​company.

Proceeds and cost-savings from the divestiture of those operations will be invested into its portfolio including, IBIO-101, an immunotherapy for the depletion of regulatory T cells, and two differentiated, antibody candidates emanating from its antibody discovery platform.

The company also intends to continue to develop its artificial intelligence (AI) platform, one of the multiple assets it acquired in September from its AI drug discovery partner RubrYc.

Tom Isett, CEO of iBio, said: “We believe focusing our efforts on drug discovery and development to be the path to greatest value-creation for shareholders, especially given the recent addition of RubrYc Therapeutics’ pipeline and tools to engineer precision-targeting antibodies. Concurrently, given the strong demand for biomanufacturing capacity, we are providing the opportunity for another organization to more fully utilize the advanced bioanalytical and bioprocess capacity resident in our large-scale cGMP biologics production facility located in the growing Southeast Texas ‘Biocorridor’.

CDMO assets

The CDMO assets up for sale include a 130,000 sq. ft [12077.3 sq. m] cGMP facility in Bryan, Texas, which is configurable for a variety of large-scale bioproduction systems and iBio’s proprietary FastPharming Expression System and Glycaneering Technology. iBio expects to complete the transaction in 2023.

In conjunction with the divestment, the company said it has commenced a comprehensive workforce reduction exercise of around 60% of current staffing levels.  

Once the job shedding is finalized, it said the company will operate out of the new Drug Discovery Center in San Diego, California, which opened in September.

New CEO

It will also begin the search for a new chief executive, claiming there is a need to do so given the announced change in geographic location. Isett, the current CEO, is expected to stay on through this company’s ‘transformation’ phase.  

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